For those of us who root for the underdogs, this week brought two major "upside surprises" as the markets like to say. Both were unexpected. Both defied the odds. And we love that.
First, on Monday - Patriots' Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Meb Keflezighi became the first American since the early 1980's to win the famed Boston Marathon. Decisively so. And the back story even better. Learning that he had at one time, Meb had been on Nike's advertising licensing roster for running shoe promotion, but gotten dropped apparently due to his age (39 next month) and fading star power, must have made the win all that much sweeter for him. Not only did he beat those expectations, but many others. As one of eleven children in a family seeking a better life, they came to America and have risen. Meb stated after the race that he was intentional in remembering the bombing victims from a year earlier. Indeed, he had written their names on his racing bib and harnessed that tremendous motivation.
Then, there's Apple. Perhaps not considered to be so much of an underdog, but lately, ignored and unloved by the markets. Until yesterday, when they stunned with earnings results, stock split, raising of dividends and renewed energy. And all under the new leadership team of CEO Tim Cook who assumed the reigns after the passing of the legendary Steve Jobs. Yes Apple is iconic. But many had viewed in the same light as Meb. With its best days behind it and lacking the resources to outperform again.
These skeptics were wrong. This time, the drivers of innovation, focus, determination and persistence yielded the return that few saw coming. It gives the rest of us rocket fuel to continue fighting our own battles, defying our own skeptics at least for a little while longer.